Smoky Spanish Caesar Salad


Now that our local farmer’s markets are officially up and running I’ve made some dedicated time for weekly treks, which is a habit I have to work at – not at all because I don’t WANT bags full of fresh, local, just-harvested bounty. No, it’s just when life gets too busy I let trips to the farmer’s market fall by the wayside, which I always regret.

Amazingly, I also planted out two raised vegetable beds this spring. The actual frames were built and ready to be cultivated two whole summers ago, but guess what? I found myself distracted with work, family, travel…and by the time I was free to play in the garden it was already late June; way too hot for me.
I blame the heat and humidity for making me a lazy gardener, a slacker person who grew a lush crop of weeds last year.

This week the market was full of gorgeous greens; spinach, baby lettuces, pea shoots and salad greens like the huge head of romaine I found at Terra Bella’s stand that inspired this salad.

I improvised a favorite chipotle caesar dressing recipe from Sara Foster, influencing the flavors toward Spain with smoky pimenton paprika, chickpeas and marcona almonds.

Smoky Spanish Caesar Salad

Yield: makes about 1 1/2 cups dressing


    for dressing:
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sherry or red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked Spanish paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup oil ( I use 1/2 cup each olive & organic canola oil)
  • 1/4 cup grated aged Manchego cheese or Parmesan
  • for salad:
  • Romaine lettuce leaves
  • Marcona almonds
  • Chickpeas, cracked with the back of a knife
  • Manchego cheese


  1. Using a blender or food processor, mix everything up to the oil until blended; then slowly pour in the oil with the motor running. The dressing should become thick and creamy.
  2. Add the cheese and pulse to mix it in. You can thin the dressing with some cold water if you like it more pourable. Check the seasonings.
  3. to make the salad:
  4. Toss the lettuce with enough dressing to coat, but not too heavily. Garnish with some almonds, chickpeas and grated Manchego.


If you prefer to avoid raw egg, you can use pasteurized eggs or 1 cup good quality mayonnaise.

Recipe adapted from Fresh Every Day


  1. I have found your blog thanks foodgawker and I can say that I love it ;))))) Great recipes and lovely pictures!! I’ll surely come back as soon as possible to visit you again :))) Have a nice day, Erika from Italy

  2. Oh my gosh, what a wonderful idea – I’m sure I could veganize this as well! Plus, the photos are gorge – love, love, love!

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